Tag Archives: music

Cosmic Star Heroine – Original Soundtrack Review

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[This article was originally posted here at VGMOnline.net, and is archived here with their permission. Please go check their site out because it is wonderful.]

Overview

Few studios can modernize the ‘retro’ style quite like Zeboyd Games does. With releases like Cthulu Saves the World, Breath of Death VIII, and the last (and best) two entries in Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Zeboyd has shown that not only do they understand what should be in a retro-styled game, they also understand what should be modernized and streamlined for modern sensibilities. Their games have always had a sense of humor to them; homage and respect to what came before are delivered with tongue firmly placed in cheek. Their latest game, Kickstarter success story Cosmic Star Heroine, represents their first foray into ‘serious’ storytelling, and also their longest and most meticulously-designed project to date.

For the game’s score, Zeboyd turned once again to the Ireland-based Hyperduck Soundworks, who had previously composed the score to On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4. In addition, they also composed the absurdly good soundtrack for Dust: An Elysian Tale, as well as the soundtracks for Kingdom Rush: Frontiers, A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda, and others. They also have several remixes on their Bandcamp page from such games as Chrono Trigger, Zelda, and Duke Nukem 3D. It’s obvious that they are quite enthusiastic about the blending of old and new, making the choice to once again partner with them for the Cosmic Star Heroine soundtrack seem like an obvious one for Zeboyd to make. Continue reading

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Once Upon a Time: Child of Light

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Child of Light is a twist on a very classic method of storytelling: the fairytale. With a storyline that seems familiar, and yet different enough to stay engaged, the narrative arc of this game is one that is as broad-sweeping as the tales from our childhood. This is a coming of age story, where our protagonist Aurora learns her life lessons through an epic journey. At first, she strives to go home to the familiar and safe. As the story progresses, she makes hard decisions and grows, mentally and physically. Aurora has her trials and finds friends in he most unlikely of places.

Child of Light is a game for one or two players. Player one takes on the role of Aurora, the princess far flung from her family and home. If there is a second player, they take on the role of Igniculus, a spirit of light (‘firefly’). This co-op mechanic allows one player to control the heroine, and the other to shine the way and help get to places that the heroine cannot travel alone. Without the second player, a singular player must control both Aurora and Igniculus.

Ubisoft Montreal developed this piece, and it was published by Ubisoft. Released in early 2014 , Child of Light can be played on Windows, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

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Things That Make Me Happy: September 2014 Edition

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I’m sure that anyone who reads this site, other sites, or has been on the internet at all in the past few days knows that there have been some pretty negative things that have been happening in the video game industry. I feel like there have been a great many other people who have been a great deal more personally affected by these things than I have been, and those people do a much better job of addressing the situation than I ever could.

So, I’m going to do the only thing I feel that I can do. I would like to list, briefly and in no particular order, the things related to video games that have made me and others happy, and which I think are positive things happening in the industry right now. Some of these things involve games I intend on reviewing at some point, and some of them are just observations I’ve made in the past month-ish.

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Video Games are Art. Now What?

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So, if you will recall, a few years back there was a big discussion, off and on, about whether video games could be considered a form of art. To my knowledge, the issue was never really resolved, and while it’s mostly died down, I’ve seen there be some resurgence of the discussion here and there.  When that happens, I tend to ignore it, because to me, the discussion isn’t really relevant anymore. I don’t think anyone’s really taken the time to talk about why that’s the case, though.

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Let Me Tell You a Story. A Very, Very Weird Story.

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I walk into a tavern in the middle of a small seaside fishing village. Since I’m really, really, abysmally bad at geography, I’m really not sure which sea I’m on the side of. I’m guessing it’s the Baltic. Seeing as how everyone around me is speaking Russian, there’s a 75% chance it’s the Baltic. It’s probably the Baltic. Anyway. I walk in, expecting to see a few tired fishermen unwinding after the day’s catch. While I do see that, I also see a lot of other people as well. People who, like me, have come from far and wide to this place without really knowing why. I step up to the bar and order a drink. It doesn’t matter what I order, I still get a scowl from the bartender as he hands it to me. I then notice the man at the end of the bar. He is an elderly gentleman, and for some reason that I don’t think can be adequately explained just yet there is a man sitting beside him with an accordion. Curious, I walk over to the man and start to listen to his accordion-playing companion. The man looks at me, intelligence, and more than a little mischief, in his eye, and speaks to me in English, his voice strong but starting to crack from decades of use. “Let me tell you a story.”

“Uh, er, okay…” I reply.

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Stand Tall and Shake the Heavens: Emotionally Invested

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There is a trend in the circle of bands that cover or create video game inspired music to always be striving to do more with less. Many times, this is by necessity, as the great majority of cover bands draw inspiration from the music and video games of the 1980’s and 1990’s. As technology limited what music could be put in the games themselves, there is an inherent room for expanding those songs. Though the scene started out with a definite focus on heavy metal, there has been a more recent trend in bands that bring diversity to the table and therefore have caused a slight shift in focus. In the past year or two, the focus has not been just on ‘more’ (more energy, more metal, more badass), but on ‘different’.

Codename Trigger Thumb aims to fall directly in the middle of that spectrum, and in my opinion they succeed at it quite brilliantly.

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Digital Sea of Sound

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People who know me know that I am possibly one of the world’s biggest connoisseurs of video game music there is. Mostly, this is because I play a whole lot of video games, and enjoy music in all its forms. This being the case, I tend to notice when new things start happening in the video game music scene, or at least when things start to converge in new and different ways. As such, I’ve been jotting down all the observations swimming around in my head and realizing that they could be used to inform others about a pretty neat little trend that’s started to pop up in recent years: Chiptune.

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Opening Turn: Civilization V: Gods and Kings

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So, it’s something I don’t really do that often, but this time I’m going to be reviewing an expansion pack. Granted, in the process I’ll also be giving my thoughts related to the main game a bit, but I’ll try to keep it focused on the things that are new and different from the original release of Civilization V. Which is, in itself, a pretty good (though not the best) iteration of one of the greatest game series ever made. So how does it improve upon Civ 5? Does it improve at all? Well…
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I ACCIDENTALLY AN ARTICLE.

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[[Edited for additional points I derped out on, and assorted spelling errors because apparantly I fail at keyboard.]]

So, I was having a conversation with my wife the other day in which I was explaining what I shall henceforth refer to as the Tim Schaffer Phenomenon, and about what Kickstarter is and what it means for funding products in general. I realized about halfway through that this whole topic sort of wound into the general animosity toward publishers these days. I’m going to use ‘publisher’ interchangibly with ‘movie studio’ and ‘record label’, because I’m going to touch on aspects of books, movies, music, and video games, such as I have been doing quite a bit lately. Of course, I quickly realized that if I was going to write about this, I needed to say something other than what everyone else I know, and a whole bunch of people that I don’t know, have already said: “Publishers are evil and deserve to fade into obscurity and vanish”. If I wrote a thousand words on that, I know I would get a whole lot of ‘like’s, and very little constructive discussion because I would be presenting exactly one side of the argument: the popular side. It would also partially be a rehash of every single comment anyone has made regarding The Ending (you know which one) and I’ve told everyone I’m saying no more about that, and I fucking mean it.

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